Sunday, 28 December 2014

The Court (Summer Menu Launch), Northbridge, Western Australia (Alissa and Don Eat Australia)

I have to admit a slight prejudice; I'm not really a fan of the kind of 'Parmi and Pint' food often served at old hotel pubs. Chicken Parmigiana is alright and all, its just a little too safe and easy for me; its the kind of food favoured by an older and conservative generation who would never try sashimi or sweetbreads or anything remotely adventurous, and its something I could easily whip up at home with very little effort at all. So when Alissa and I were invited to the launch of the Court's new Summer Menu, we accepted the invite with a little trepidation - would they deliver their pub style menu with enough panache to allow it to rise above the usual pub grub fare? Given the progressive nature of the venue and the behind the scenes effort that had apparently gone into the new menu, we had high hopes that it just might. 

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Steak and Food Concepts 2, Bull Creek, Western Australia (Alissa and Don Eat Australia)

As much as I sometimes have a craving for cheap and greasy combination plate/food court Chinese, the sight of Sweet and Sour Pork is always a signifier that the food is most probably not going to be very authentic. It's not that I'm being fussy - I'll still eat it as I sometimes crave its trashiness - but I'm always aware of the fact that this is Asian food bastardised for Western tastes. Sweet and Sour Pork is an easy target for derision since it seems more loved by people of European descent than Asian, however what is not as often acknowledged in the criticism of Westernised Asian food is the lack of authenticity in Easternised European cooking. In my early years growing up in a first generation Australian household, my parents often cooked European food the way they learnt to make it in Singapore because they just didn't know any better at the time. They wouldn't cook like this anymore of course (my Mum is a devoted disciple of Jamie Oliver), so its been a long time since I last tried anything like the home cooked 'European' food of my early childhood. That was until Alissa and I visited the oddly named Steak and Food Concepts 2.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

The Standard, Northbridge, Western Australia (Alissa and Don Eat Australia)

With a seemingly one a week rate of notable restaurant openings, its been interesting to see a common framework emerging as a model for success in Perth's burgeoning dining scene. Conceptually, its fairly straightforward: put together a great drinks list, combine it with a kitchen headed up by a chef with fine dining bonafides cooking technically proficient but accessible share plate food and serve it all up in a room with a hip and inviting mise en scene. The underlying formula may be predictable but the specifics are so open-ended that the permutations are seemingly endless - a whiskey bar with an ex-Vue de Monde chef (Varnish on King), Asian/American inspired 'dude food' from a guy who used to serve up fine dining food at Harvest in Fremantle (Pleased to Meet You) and a fortified wines specialist and artisanal bakery/charcuterie also staffed by Vue de Monde alumni (The Flour Factory) are but a few examples scattered around the future Perth City Link. Located next door to the Bonsai on Roe St and conveniently located facing the future Queen's Square precinct of the City Link, the recently opened Standard is quite possibly one of the best yet.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

MoG @ Home #4 - Attica (Ministry of Gluttony at Home)

Earlier in the year Alissa and I were lucky enough to dine at Attica, the Melbourne restaurant hailed by many to be the best in the country. Located south of the CBD in Ripponlea and featuring a stark black and white fit out, Attica does not have the incredible views, opulent decor and central location of a Vue de Monde or a Quay to fall back on; more than both those esteemed restaurants, the success of Attica is largely the result of the incredible food of head chef and co-owner Ben Shewry. Terroir driven, hyperlocal, ethical and deeply personal, the unique and often autobiographical nature of Shewry's food marks him as a culinary auteur, and our meal at Attica was one of the most artistically satisfying of my life. Shewry has fast become one of my culinary heroes.